October is an interesting month for me because 1) I’m trying out a 30-day vegan challenge, and 2) I’m traveling for 1/3 of the month.
The chart below reflects an inflated food budget because I have to replace so many staples food items with vegan versions. As it is currently the 5th of the month (and I’m late with this budget), I can already say that moving over to vegan cooking at home is a lot less complicated than I had imagined. But, going out to eat in restaurants has been a bit of a challenge. Thankfully I have some friends who are okay eating at veg/vegan-friendly places, but in other restaurants, I’m that person who has to ask for at least two substitutions with every meal. I find that annoying, but it’s my own issue of not wanting to be a burden on others, and I’ll get over it eventually. :)
I think the budget for travel will be acceptable. I anticipate $150 for Thanksgiving, $300 for Vegas (as I already have some U.S. cash sitting at home), and $50 for Toronto (my flight and accommodation is paid for, and all meals at the Canadian Personal Finance Conference are provided).
The one unknown is a big one. I didn’t put it in the budget because I’m a little bit scared of how much it might cost. Most of you know, I’m a huge Blue Jays fan. And my team is currently in the playoffs. I have a somewhat generous amount sitting in my Travel Fund that I am willing to commit to a playoff ticket (or two) if I can find the time to go. As luck would have it, my travel schedule just so happens to put me in Toronto for the ALCS and the World Series. So if the opportunity arises, I am definitely going to take advantage. :)
October 2015 Goals:
- Stay on budget with travel expenses. I don’t anticipate going crazy in Vegas, as I’m only there for two nights, and the gals I’m going with seem like they’d have relatively normal travel spending habits (I’ve never traveled with any of them).
- Check my credit score. It’s my birthday month, so that means it’s time for my annual credit check.
- Rebalance my investment portfolio. I rebalance my portfolio once a year, also on my birthday month. It’s easy this way, I will never forget to do it. :)
- Look into rock climbing gyms. After years of (admittedly half-hearted searching), I have found a rock climbing partner. Time to check out what has changed in the Vancouver climbing gym scene since I last went on a regular basis (which was almost 5 years ago now!).
Well I said I would bring back my monthly budget spreadsheets, and here is the first one. In the months since I last posted one, I never stopped creating them for my own use, I just didn’t share them with you. :)
July is a bit of a strange month as I continue to adjust to life in my own home.
I was able to forecast a few expenses, namely a fun field hockey tournament I was asked to play in a few weeks ago ($25), and a family trip to Seattle to watch the Blue Jays play (which was planned back at Christmas time). Other than that, I’ve budgeted a little more room for entertainment since it’s the summer, and have had to increase my gas budget by about 25% to accommodate for the extra driving I’ll be doing this month.
July 2015 Goals:
- Go hiking twice. I’ve already gone once – to Mt. Brunswick on Canada Day. And I am planning on going hiking again this coming weekend.
- Clean and organize my house. I’m continuing on my path to a more minimalist lifestyle, and while I’m having a difficult time throwing some things away, I’ve made significant progress in donating 6 or 7 huge garbage bags full of clothes and getting rid of the majority of my DVD and book collection.
- Save $900 towards my RRSP/TFSA. As some of you already know, my automatic contributions sit at $700/month. I’d like to increase this by $200 just to see how comfortable it feels.
- Invoice all freelance clients. I fell a bit behind invoicing clients for work that I’ve done. I need to send out invoices and keep my spreadsheets updated on a weekly basis.
- Find out about mortgage penalty. I’ve been meaning to call my bank to ask what the penalty would be to cancel my mortgage early if I decide to sell this year (I have 8 months left on my 5 year term). This needs to get done in July, so that I can look into listing soonish if I decide that’s what I want.
As you can tell, I stopped posting my weekly spending recaps. I started doing them just as a reminder for myself, and since you guys seem pretty divided about them, I thought I’d just stop posting them altogether. :)
This was a decent month. I went over a little on my budget due to an oil change I forgot I needed to have done, but overall I’m pretty happy considering it was a really social and event-filled month. I went to TheatreSports twice, saw a VIFF movie, two concerts, a couple dinners out with friends, and a Halloween party. Not to mention buying two birthday presents this month (noted in the ‘Miscellaneous’ category).
- Utilities – I didn’t think I’d be turning on the heat this early in the year, but I did. And I paid for it. :)
- Car & Transportation – I did a lot of driving this month, and it also included an oil change and a new air filter.
Net Worth Change: + $1,463 (1.44%)
Even though the stock market was up and down this month (mostly down), I still managed to post a small gain. This was due to contributions to my TFSA, RRSP, and my mortgage payments.
- Sign up for education info sessions. CHECK! I signed up for two sessions. The first one is in 2 weeks, and the next one is 2 weeks after that. I’m excited to learn more. It feels empowering being able to take control of my future and improve myself.
- Rebalance my Retirement Portfolio. CHECK! I didn’t have to move around too much money, but it was good to take a look at what my investments have been doing over the past year. Sometimes I feel like my contributions aren’t adding up as quickly as I want them to, but I need to remember that I won’t need this money for another 25-30 years. :)
- Pull my credit report. CHECK! Everything looks normal to me.
- Declutter my house. PASS. I cleaned up, but definitely didn’t declutter. Typical.